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The Grotto

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Audio CD, March 4, 2003
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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song Title Time Price
listen  1. Sno Cat 3:37$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  2. Deep Wilson 4:18$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  3. Snake Oil 3:53$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  4. Vanishing Twin 3:35$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  5. SRB 4:50$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  6. Silver Sun 5:32$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  7. Vitamins V 6:32$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  8. Arnica Montana 5:36$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  9. Milk Street 5:56$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen10. Ether 5:39$0.99  Buy MP3 

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Kristin Hersh
May 2010

After founding her influential art-punk band Throwing Muses, at age 14, Kristin Hersh went on to spend the next 25 years confounding expectations and breaking rules - both her own and others’. From life as the reluctant front person for the Muses, to the solo career she swore never would happen, through the founding of an ambitious and altruistic ... Read more in Amazon's Kristin Hersh Store

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 4, 2003)
  • Original Release Date: 2000
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: 4ad / Ada
  • ASIN: B00007KN39
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #197,658 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Kristin Hersh The Grotto UK CD album

Kristin Hersh took the occasion of resurrecting her pioneering alternative band Throwing Muses after a seven-year hiatus to simultaneously issue this hauntingly spare new chapter of her solo career. Bringing her music full circle, it's an effort that offers both stark contrast with the Muses' traditions and a continuation of the acoustic flirtations of 1998's Strange Angels. Colored by Hersh's austere, Ry Cooder-like acoustic guitar and the gorgeous, if all-too-occasional violin flourishes of Andrew Bird, Hersh's breathy, evocative vocals waltz along the edge of the abyss, delivering typically angst-ridden concerns with wry poetic license ("That's the way the cookie bounces") and no small amount of dramatic chutzpah. Hersh has also masterfully tamed her potent vocal quirks here, using them to tease one moment and hypnotize the next. Wed to the delicate musical framework offered up by Giant Sand's Gelb and Bird, it's a moody daydream of an album. --Jerry McCulley

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Erica on March 10, 2003
Format: Audio CD
It's taken me a while to like this album. I've been trying to listen to it, but the Throwing Muses album released on the same day has been played many more times than this album. I am really starting to like this album a lot.
I didn't like "Strange Angels" the first time I heard it because it wasn't "Hips & Makers." But it really grew on me after seeing Kristin live several years after "Strange Angels" had been released and after "Sunny Border Blue" was released. I think this album is going to be the same for me it will grow more on me and I'm sure it will become another Kristin favorite.
This album is taking it's time to grow on me. It's very different from "Sunny Border Blue." It has a deeper, more emotional edge to it.
Kristin's albums all have to be accepted in their own way. I can be in the mood to listen to Kristin, but it has to be a particular album depending on my mood. They all seem to be very telling of her life at the time she wrote the album. I love all of her albums, each in their own individual way. Sort of the way you love people - you can't love all of them as a collective, they are individuals and must be loved that way.
The violins on "Deep Wilson" give me the chills, they are amazing. There is something about the way that they sound that gives me a very odd sensation in my body. Like they make me shiver but not exactly shiver. Sort of flutter but not in a fairy sort of way. I don't know how to describe it.
If you are a Kristin fan! Buy this album. Don't dismiss it through the first few listens. Give it time and you'll grow to love it with each listen.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Emily Rigdon on November 29, 2003
Format: Audio CD
I have always been passionately in love with musical albums that no matter to how many they are beloved, suddenly become your own when listened to alone in your room or car. I lucked into randomly buying a tape of Throwing Muses' University on its release when I was in middle school-and listened to it on long bike rides across my rural county, but then I never got any other albums by them or Hersh. But approaching 10 years later now, hardened by hard times and from bringing home so many carefully made music store purchases that were good but not gut wrenching, nothing was seeming to melt the musical ice and reach inside me recently. That is, until I reconnected with Kristin Hersh's solo music, starting with The Grotto last spring.
The first few songs on The Grotto are immediately accessible; they make you wanna press repeat and not continue the album just yet because you've just found somethin' so good. I guiltily, sporadically repeated Sno Cat and Deep Wilson for several days, like I had just discovered some incredible, addictive food I kept plucking out of the kitchen cabinet whenever my willpower couldn't stand to wait anymore. Then, as you go deeper into The Grotto, you connect with all these other incredible songs. Right now, Vitamins V is my favorite. I can't tell you what it's supposed mean because even after dozens+ listens I still get caught up in each and every musical-lyrical moment of the song until I'm spit out on the other side of it; I could care less about the "big meaning." Something with a "mouth full of vodka," a "lukewarm catastrophe," "staring through the fishtank," and "I can't seem to lie to you," all of which only appear as words here uncoverted by her music.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By WrtnWrd on April 12, 2003
Format: Audio CD
The allure of the music of Throwing Muses has always been in hearing schizophrenic disassociation from a safe distance. In her 20's, Kristen Hersh's free-form disconnects were expected - it was an independent woman's assertive exploration of contradictory impulses. Her myth was reinforced by real mental struggle, and an intense stage presence akin to satanic possession. In her 30's, Hersh put out a series of intense acoustic records -just her wailing angst against stringed instruments - that were spookier than anything the Muses ever did. Now we have two new Hersh creations - a new solo disc, The Grotto, and the first Muses record in eight years. The Grotto is Hersh's best solo work. In her 40's, she's still chasing a private muse, but her surreal insularity has either grown more linear or I've learned how to scan her images over the years. "SRB" is about a bad ... experience. "Ether" a lamentation on indifference. "Deep Wilson" a metaphor for love. It's gorgeous, difficult, thrilling music.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 7, 2003
Format: Audio CD
Back in 1994 Kristin Hersh released a quail-boned little album "Hips and Makers" that probably brought her closest to public success as ever. Hips and Makers was this collection of desperate, disenchanted acoustic songs that could never have kept up on an amped-up Throwing Muses' (Kristin's rock band) record. They seemed to just take flight on an intimate acoustic album and create an uncanny, electric power out of muscle and voice.
When Throwing Muses disbanded Kristin produced a handful of mostly acoustic solo albums. But rather then be the contituation of what she started with "Hips and Makers" these albums kind of became a make-do substitute for the defuct-Throwing Muses. These albums were great but were kind of middle-ground between Kristin Hersh and Throwing Muses.
Kristin's "The Grotto" is being released with the new self-titled Throwing Muses reunion album. And since "the Grotto" doesn't need to be some sort of surrogate Muses' album it returns and treads the old stomping ground mapped out in Hips and Makers so many years ago. The songs on "the Grotto" almost seem like missing b-sides to that album.
The song structures on "the Grotto" are pretty desolate and minimal. Gentle guitar work is blanketed by soft violins and piano. There are no real choruses to speak of, just some casual phrases or words repeated for emphasis. The songs don't really finish up nicely as much as they kind of wind down and run out of things to say on the matter. But when they're talking you can't help but to listen. They kind of remind me of some kind of wise old grandmother. Kristin has a way of demanding attention even when whispering.
I enjoy "the Grotto" and wish Kristin all the success in the world with it. Her albums always gain critical praise but I hope this album can gain public attention like "Hips and Makers", even though the "women in music" fad of 1994 is distant history. Kristin deserves to be noticed.
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